Friday, March 25, 2011

A Love Affair...With Coffee

 The Beans

It's my Birthday today! And it may well be the best birthday ever as I got to spend the entire day in coffee class! As you all know, I have an unhealthy love affair with coffee and indeed all guises of caffeine (click here for symptoms of my addiction) and I thank the great cosmic alignments for putting me in this class today. :p

The Tools (Starter Kit & Coffee Grinders)

I skipped my morning joe thinking we'll get to taste some first thing in the morning, but lo and behold the introduction and theory (origins of coffee, where they are grown, the difference between Arabica and Robusta etc) lasted a good 1 1/2 hours, by which time withdrawal symptoms had set in and I was struggling to keep my eyes open while fending off a loud, throbbing headache; I finally resorted to munching on coffee beans to stay alive awake.

The Love Affair

Alas, we finally got down to business, starting with the basics blacks.

 Trickling Black Gold Into Measuring Glass

Standard Single Shot (7gm Coffee & 30 ml Water)
Long Black (Double Shot, Hot Water)

Espresso (Double Shot)
Ristretto ("Restricted" 7gm Coffee & 15ml Water)

Ivan Demonstrating Various Coffee Creations

Ivan's the guy in charge of Afternoon Tea, and had the challenging task of training us on every aspect of said day from coffee to service to flambeing Crepe Suzette's, all in just 1 day

The eccentric Frenchman's a wonder to behold: smiling one minute, foaming (like milk froth) the next, speaks a billion languages (English, French, Italian, Korean...) and is probably the most passionate expert in his wide field of fields. Kept us all on our toes he did.

Black coffees done, we proceeded to learn the whites i.e. milk varietals.

Pouring 65°C Steamed Milk (Careful Not To Disturb The Crema)
Cappuccino (1/3 Cup Single Shot, 1/3 Milk, 1/3 Foam, Cocoa Powder)

Flat White (Single Shot, More Milk, Less Foam)
Baby Cino (Milk, Foam, Cocoa Powder)

Macchiato ("Stained" Single Shot, Foam)
Cafe Latte (Single Shot, Milk, 10ml Foam) & Piccolo (Mini Cafe Latte)

At this point of class I've had more than 10 cups of coffee (quality control, you see) and was developing symptoms of a different kind: sharp, throbbing headache, heart palpitations and a very sick stomach. Simon reckons I'm a sucker for punishment - I ain't arguing with that.

Mochaccino (Chocolate, Single Shot, Milk, Foam, Cocoa Powder)

My Cappuccino & Flat White

My Band Of Coffee: Over-foamed Mochaccinos, Alright Macchiato
Cafe Latte That Reminds Me Of Singapore's Traditional Kopi

Brewing coffee's easy; controlling the milk and foam is the hard part. Mine was consistently too frothy, which is how I prefer cappuccino to be, but it wasn't quite up to standard for today's class. I just have to keep practicing (and drinking) till I get it right. Have I mentioned I'm a sucker for punishment?

Preview Of Tomorrow's Afternoon Tea

By midday I've had enough of coffee and was ready to get back into the kitchen where I am truly at home, doing what I am most comfortable with: baking. :)

 Coffee, Anyone? :)


  1. Hehe, it looks good, but too bad I am not a coffee fan(one of the rare ones in statistics) :)

  2. wow!you guys have to master the art of brewing coffee and the various italian themed concoctions as well?

  3. omg I miss this!! The instructor was the same! I'm very thankful for this class for it has thought me lots more appreciation for coffee and it has somehow started my love for coffee too!

  4. Christy: It was a very good class indeed, intensive and extensive.

    I have a question for do you wake up in the morning and stay awake without coffee? :p

  5. Traveling Foodie: Yup coffee class is included in the curriculum, I was initially disappointed that there wasn't more of it, but after just one morning, with Ivan teaching us so much, it was more then enough!

  6. Swee San: Ivan's been there for decades now, and seem to be the one and only go-to guy for LCB's Afternoon Teas. He's fantastic and funny, but will be retiring in a couple of years' time, I think.

    I've always been in love with coffee, and to be able to brew my own just made me fall even deeper in love with it too!

  7. Very nice pics of different flavored coffee . Nice creativity there.